Friday, June 3, 2011

What's A Writer To Do?

Change is the daily constant in the publishing world and no one is driving that change more than Amazon, having jumped into publishing with both of its 800 lb. gorilla feet. That's good news for writers who will benefit from having another major publisher in the marketplace.

Amazon's new Sunshine Deals may not be such a good deal for the vast number of writers hoping to carve out a living selling their ebooks for $2.99 or less.

Amazon is now offering ebook editions of some publisher's back lists at prices ranging from 99 cents to $1.99 to $2.99, cutting into writer's low price territory. There is speculation that the Sunshine Deals will be the precursor for variable pricing in which Amazon will adjust prices for individual titles based on demand.

All of this has some writers worried that it will be harder for their books to get favorable marketing treatment from Amazon.

So, what's a writer to do, besides post on Twitter and Facebook until the world takes out a restraining order against you, blog till your fingers bleed and spend a bunch of dough on marketing and, oh yeah, write a kick-ass book that is professionally edited, copyedited and formatted with a cover that belongs in the Louvre?

My answer - join forces with other writers. Here are three examples - all of which are things I'm doing or have done.

I'm one of a group of writers working on Lee Goldberg and Bill Rabkin's The Dead Man series, novellas that are one part Stephen King paranormal and one part men's action adventure. We're creating a brand and a product that will stand out in the marketplace and attract readers to our other books. The Dead Woman is our latest title and it's a knockout.

I'm also a member of the Top Suspense Group, twelve writers who have banded together to give readers a reliable source for terrific ebooks. We published the Top Suspense Anthology, which became an Amazon bestseller earlier this year and has brought new readers to our other books.

I participated in the Blog Tour de Troops over Memorial Day Weekend sponsored by the Indie Book Collective, in which some 35 authors blogged about the importance of Memorial Day, contributing free ebooks to our troops for every person who commented on our blogs. The response was tremendous and I was introduced to hundreds of new readers and we did a good thing for the troops.

I don't know what the long-term impact will be on my book sales from any of these efforts. I do know that each gives me an opportunity to stand out, build my brand and do some good.

It's a lot easier to do that arm-in-arm with my fellow writers than on my own. And it's a lot more fun than bitching and moaning about how steep the hill is that we're all trying to climb.

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